BBB Offers Help to Spot Phony Job Offers
Lookingfor a job? You’re not alone. The unemployment has improved slightly, now atabout 8.7%, according to the U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, and many job hunters have been out of work forlong periods of time. Job seekers turning to online job boards to post theirresume and search for jobs are advised to proceed with caution. The BBB iswarning the unemployed to use caution before sharing their personalqualifications and inquiring about jobs found online.
As muchas the Internet has made searching for jobs easier, it also provides anopportunity for ID thieves and scammers to take advantage of eager—andunsuspecting—job seekers. It’s becoming more and more common for scammers tolure in potential candidates with phrases like, “Get a new job now – or Getpaid more for your efforts.” all in the hopes of getting their personalinformation. Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, Craigslist and even Facebook arebreeding grounds for scammers and the like.
“Jobseekers need to know how to spot a potential job scam and get to know commonred flags,” said Warren Clark,Better Business Bureau President. “It’s important to make sure you’re dealingwith someone reputable. We know job scammers are lurking and some have even hadcandidates set up direct deposit accounts as part of the application process.They make it seem as though it’s naturally part of the process to get aninterview—when it’s absolutely not.”
BBB advises job hunters to be on thelook out for these red flags when conducting their job search:
Employer offers Work-at-Home. BBB considers work-at-home offers suspect. Make sure you research the companycompletely and check them out at bbb.org. If you proceed with a job offer from home keep in mind you can losemoney you can’t spare, damage your reputation, lose valuable time and even riskbecoming the focus of a legal investigation. You may be held responsible if youperpetrate a fraud by promoting and selling a fraudulent product or service toothers.
Those who succeed by working-at-home have several things in common. They havetraining or experience in what they are doing, they work hard and efficiently,they work for a salary, or they spend time and money developing the market fortheir work.
Employer emails are rife with grammatical and spelling errors. Most online fraud is perpetratedby scammers located outside the U.S.Their first language usually isn’t English and this is often evident in theirpoor grasp of the language which can include poor grammar and the misspellingof common words.
Emails purporting to be from jobposting websites claiming there’s a problem with a job hunter’s account.After creating a user account on sites like Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com orCraigslist.com, a job hunter might receive an e-mail saying there has been aproblem with their account or they need to follow a hyperlink to install newsoftware. Phishing e-mails like this are designed to convince readers to clicka link within the message to fix the issue, but actually take them to a websitethat will install malware or viruses on their computer.
An employer asksfor extensive personal information such as social security or bank accountnumbers.Some job seekers have been surprised to learn they’ve gotten a job withouthaving to do a single interview. However, when the employer then asked forpersonal information in order to fill out the necessary paperwork suspicionswere raised – and rightly so. Regardless of the reason or excuse given by theemployer, a job applicant should never give out his or her Social Security orbank account numbers over the phone or e-mail.
An employer offers the opportunity tobecome rich without leaving home. While there are legitimatebusinesses that allow employees to work from home, there are also a lot ofscammers trying to take advantage of senior citizens, stay-at-home moms,students and injured or handicapped people looking to make money at home. Jobhunters should use extreme caution when considering a work-at-home offer andalways research the company with their BBBfirst at bbb.org.
An employer asks for money upfront. Aside from paying for a uniform,it is rarely advisable for an applicant to pay upfront fees or make a requiredpurchase to get a job. Most recently, the BBBof Metropolitan Dallas uncovered a scam where job hunters were told they had topay $64.50 for a background check before they could be considered for acleaning job. Predictably, after paying for the background check, the jobseeker never heard from the company again.
The salary and benefits offered seemtoo-good-to-be-true. The adage holds true for joboffers: if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Phony employersmight brag about exceptionally high salary potential and excellent benefits forlittle experience in order to lure unsuspecting job hunters into their scam.
The job requires the employee to wire money throughWestern Union or MoneyGram. Manyphony jobs require the prospective employee to cash a check sent by the companythrough the mail and then wire a portion of the money on to another entity.Reasons given for this requirement vary from scam to scam. Whatever the reasonthough, the check might clear the employee’s bank account but will eventuallyturn out to be a fake and the employee is out the money he or she wired back tothe scammers.